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CASE NAME:United States v. Joseph Djoumessi
ALL PLAINTIFFS:United States
ALL DEFENDANTS:Joseph Djoumessi, Evelyn Djoumessi
CITATION:
DOCKET NUMBER:05-80110
SOURCE:DOJ/US Attorney Website or Press Release, Lexis Search
TYPE OF CASE:Criminal
RELATED CASE CITATION:
TYPE OF TRIAL:Judge
TRIAL JUDGE(S):Hon. Arthur J. Tarnow
YEAR OF ARREST:2000
YEAR OF VERDICT:2005
TYPE OF COURT:Federal Court
STATE:Michigan
FEDERAL DISTRICT:Eastern District Court
STATE COUNTY:
AGE OF VICTIM(S):Minor
NUMBER OF VICTIMS:1
GENDER OF VICTIM(S):Female
VICTIM'S COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:Cameroon
METHOD OF ENTRY INTO THE U.S.:Defendants arranged for victim to enter U.S. using a fraudulent passport
WAS VICTIM CHARGED WITH A CRIME:No
NUMBER OF DEFENDANT(S):2
GENDER OF DEFENDANT(S):Female and Male
TYPE OF INDUSTRY:Labor
CASE CATEGORIZATION:Domestic Servant
FIRST CHARGE:Conspiracy to commit involuntary servitude
FIRST CHARGE US/STATE CODE CITATION:18 U.S.C. § 371 (18 U.S.C. § 1584)
FIRST CHARGE VERDICT/PLEA:Guilty Verdict
FIRST CHARGE SENTENCE:
SECOND CHARGE:Involuntary Servitude
SECOND CHARGE US/STATE CODE CITATION:18 U.S.C. § 1584
SECOND CHARGE VERDICT/PLEA:Guilty Verdict
SECOND CHARGE SENTENCE:
THIRD CHARGE:Harboring an alien for commercial advantage and private financial gain
THIRD CHARGE US/STATE CODE CITATION:8 U.S.C. § 1324
THIRD CHARGE VERDICT/PLEA:Guilty Verdict
THIRD CHARGE SENTENCE:
FOURTH CHARGE:
FOURTH CHARGE US/STATE CODE CITATION:
FOURTH CHARGE VERDICT/PLEA:
FOURTH CHARGE SENTENCE:
FIFTH CHARGE:
FIFTH CHARGE US/STATE CODE CITATION:
FIFTH CHARGE VERDICT/PLEA:
FIFTH CHARGE SENTENCE:
CORE TERMS:18 U.S.C. § 371; 18 U.S.C. § 1584; 8 U.S.C. § 1324
SENTENCING OPINION CITATION:
LENGTH OF GREATEST SENTENCE:218 months
RESTITUTION REQUIRED:$100,000
FINE IMPOSED:
FORFEITURE IMPOSED:
FIRST CLAIM:
FIRST CLAIM US/STATE CODE CITATION:
FIRST CLAIM RESULT:
DAMAGES AWARDED FOR FIRST CLAIM:
SECOND CLAIM:
SECOND CLAIM US/STATE CODE CITATION:
SECOND CLAIM RESULT:
DAMAGES AWARDED FOR SECOND CLAIM:
THIRD CLAIM:
THIRD CLAIM US/STATE CODE CITATION:
THIRD CLAIM RESULT:
DAMAGES AWARDED FOR THIRD CLAIM:
FOURTH CLAIM:
FOURTH CLAIM US/STATE CODE CITATION:
FOURTH CLAIM RESULT:
DAMAGES AWARDED FOR FOURTH CLAIM:
FIFTH CLAIM:
FIFTH CLAIM US/STATE CODE CITATION:
FIFTH CLAIM RESULT:
DAMAGES AWARDED FOR FIFTH CLAIM:
SIXTH CLAIM:
SIXTH CLAIM US/STATE CODE CITATION:
SIXTH CLAIM RESULT:
DAMAGES AWARDED FOR SIXTH CLAIM:
TOTAL AWARD:
APPEAL:Yes
EXPLANATION OF APPEAL:Appealed Conviction
APPELLATE OPINION CITATION:538 F.3d 547 (2008)
HOLDING OF APPEALS COURT:Affirm
APPEAL STILL PENDING?:No
SUMMARY:

From 1996 to 2000, Defendants Joseph and Evelyn Djoumessi held a young Cameroonian woman in a state of involuntary servitude in their Detroit-area home. Defendants, both from Cameroon, used a fraudulent passport to bring the then fourteen-year-victim into the United States. Defendants had promised the victim that they would support her and provide her with access to education; in exchange the girl agreed to perform domestic tasks and care for the defendants’ two young children.

Once in the United States, defendants forced the victim to work daily, without compensation, from 6:00am to 10:00pm as a domestic servant. She was housed in a “dilapidated” area of defendants’ basement and was not permitted to attend school.  To hold the victim in involuntary servitude, the defendants used physical violence and threats of physical violence. Defendant Joseph Djoumessi sexually assaulted the victim on at least three occasions. Defendants further controlled and manipulated the victim by convincing her that she would be arrested for being in the country illegally if she ever reported defendants to the police.

The victim was removed from defendants’ home in February 2000, after a neighbor alerted local law enforcement.

Defendants Evelyn Djoumessi was convicted by a federal jury for conspiring to hold the victim in involuntary servitude and sentenced to 218 months imprisonment. Joseph Djoumessi was found guilty after a bench trial of involuntary servitude, conspiracy to commit involuntary servitude, and harboring an alien for private financial gain. He was eventually sentenced to 60 months’ imprisonment. Defendants were also order to pay the victim $100,000 in restitution.

Please see State of Michigan v. Joseph Djoumessi for corresponding state case.

Approval Status:Approved
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